Ford Confirms 1,400 Job Losses In The UK
Ford confirms it will make 1,400 employees redundant in the UK following the closure of two British factories.
The US company's Southampton plant in Swaythling, which has made Transit vans since 1972, will close next summer with a loss of more than 500 jobs.
Its stamping plant in Dagenham, which presses sheets of metal used to make the vans in Southampton, will be shut down at the same time.
It marks the end of more than a century of vehicle production in the UK by Ford, which will make only engines and other car parts in Britain from mid-2013.
The president and chief executive of Ford, Alan Mulally, was due to hold a conference call later.
"Using the same One Ford plan that led to strong profitability in North America, we will address the crisis in Europe with a laser focus on new products, a stronger brand and increased cost efficiency," he said in a statement.
"We recognise the impact our actions will have on many employees and their families in Europe, and we will work together with all stakeholders during this necessary transformation of our business."
The move, revealed by Sky News on Wednesday, has been met with anger by unions representing the workers affected.
The Chairman of Ford of Britain, Joe Greenwell, told Jeff Randall Live
"All redundancies are voluntary. We are putting in place teams at our plants in order to work with individual employees on the best course of action for each of them."
Joe Greenwell also said:
"We have since 2007 had a 20 percent decline in sales in Europe. That's exacerbated an excess of cars. Our capacity utilisation is too low. The reality is against this background of demand we can't sustain two transit plants in the Ford portfolio."
Unite's general secretary Len McCluskey accused Ford of betraying its workforce.
"Only a few months ago Ford was promising staff a new Transit model for Southampton in 2014," he said.
"The planned closures will really hurt the local economies and the supply chain will be badly hit - up to 10,000 jobs could be at risk."
The national officer of the GMB union, Justin Bowden, added: "This is devastating news for the workers in Southampton and Dagenham and is very bad news for UK manufacturing.
"Ford's track record in Britain is one of broken promises and factory closures. There will be a feeling of shock and anger, and Ford's commitment on investment will cut little ice."
Caroline Nokes, Conservative MP for Romsey and Southampton, described the news as a "bitter blow".
"It is critically important that we do everything we can to help those affected," she said.
"The closure will have a significant impact on employment.
"These 500 employees have broadly similar skills and it is very important that they are given the maximum support possible."
But Ford, which employs 11,400 people at sites across the UK, had some good news for its British workforce.
It confirmed the next generation of diesel engines would be built in the UK, safeguarding thousands of jobs.
The carmaker is in the process of restructuring its European operations following a slump in demand, and on Wednesday announced that it would shut down its "under-utilised" factory in Genk, Belgium, resulting in 4,300 job losses.
It hopes the three plant closures - which represent 18% of Ford's production capacity in Europe - will save between $450m (£279m) and $500m (£309m) in annual costs.
The company warned its European operations would lose in excess of $1.5bn (£0.9bn) this year.